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The Multiple Legal Actions Your Family May Need After Losing a Loved One to a Fatal Single-Vehicle Accident in California

Recently, this blog touched upon fatal single-vehicle accidents and some of the legal issues that they can present, including ways of holding the defendant liable. Of course, getting a judgment of liability is not the end of the process. A proper outcome means also getting a full and fair sum of damages. As you are dealing with the tragic loss of a loved one, look to an experienced San Mateo auto accident lawyer to handle the legal processes and get your family the full compensation you deserve.

Santa Clara was the site of one of the latest of these fatal single-vehicle crashes. According to, a motorcyclist traveling northbound along the San Tomas Expressway hit the center median and crashed. The motorcyclist was transported to a nearby hospital but died as a result of his injuries.

Statistics show that there generally are more than 3,000 fatal vehicle accidents every year in California and most are single-vehicle crashes.


When that happens, you may be able to bring a lawsuit. That may happen if your loved one was a passenger in the vehicle and the driver was liable. It can also involve a situation where your loved one was the driver but someone else — like the entity responsible for designing or maintaining the road where your loved one crashed — was liable.

A Survivorship Action Versus a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Either way, there are some things you should know. For one thing, be aware that the loss of your loved one may actually trigger the need to pursue two lawsuits. One is the wrongful death action and the other is something called a “survivorship” lawsuit.

The wrongful death action is where you, the surviving family members of the deceased person, seek compensation for the losses you have incurred. This can include things like the costs of the deceased’s funeral and burial and also the lost income your deceased loved one likely would have earned over the remainder of his/her working life had he/she not died in the accident. It can also include less tangible things like compensation for the companionship and support your loved one would have provided to you.

A survivorship action is something that is designed not to compensate you for your losses but to provide compensation for the harm that your loved one experienced. In contrast with the wrongful death action, where you are the plaintiff(s), a survivorship action is something pursued by your loved one’s estate. The compensation available from this kind of lawsuit can include things like your loved one’s medical expenses arising from the accident, as well as the pain and suffering that your loved one experienced prior to his/her death.

Certainly, if your loved one survived for several days or weeks in the hospital, then this kind of lawsuit is necessary to help your family pay the large bills that will come due. Even if your loved died shortly after the ambulance arrived at the hospital, your family may still be facing very significant medical bills, and your loved one may still have experienced serious pain and suffering in the moments before his/her death. This is the legal vehicle for obtaining compensation for that.

The loss of a loved one is an unimaginably trying time. This difficult period is not the right time to try to juggle vitally important family matters and legal issues, as well. Rely on the legal professionals at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos to handle the task of getting your family the compensation you need and deserve through the legal system. Our thoughtful and skillful San Mateo vehicle accident attorneys have devoted many decades to helping people just like you. To set up a free consultation with one of our helpful attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.

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    I retained Ilya Frangos of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos on a business litigation matter involving a frivolous lawsuit filed in federal court. Ilya guided me through the case and helped make sure that I understood the process… He always took the time to answer all my questions and helped put my mind at ease. I would highly recommend him and this firm!


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    I was fortunate enough to have been represented and retained by this law firm for my injuries sustained by an under insured motorist. I must say Chantel Fitting and Illya Frangos went above and beyond trying to resolve my case… I would highly recommend this law firm and stop shopping around if you are looking for the best, as this is as good as it gets.

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